Tracklaying on the new Sydney Metro line from Chatswood to Marrickville will begin soon, with tracklaying to begin in early 2021.
Over 4,000 tonnes of Australian railway steel has been delivered ahead of tracklaying and flashbutt welding will be carried out before the rail is moved into the tunnels.
Other rail systems such as traction power, rigid overhead conductors, and drainage ventilation systems, emergency evacuation and monitoring equipment will be installed by the line-wide contractor Systems Connect.
John Grant, Systems Connect construction manager, said that the complex project required specialised equipment.
“Systems Connect has commissioned custom-designed equipment by Australasian manufacturer, Manco Rail. Specialist plant was commissioned that can operate within the tunnel profile efficiently, safely and to a high standard of emissions, including air and noise,” he said.
The consortium has endeavoured to use automation wherever possible. Part of the track laying systems, such as the sleeper grab straddle, are radio remote controlled. Other equipment in use includes specially converted wheeled excavators, with material handling booms, automatic rail threading units, and rail carrying dollies. A sleeper-laying trailers equipped with sleeper grab straddle, a rail threader trailer, tug units and track guidance system fitted to the above equipment are also in use.
As the project adjoins operating rail networks, possession and access is coordinated months to years in advance.
“Our goal is to ensure that all works are delivered safely and to schedule so train services can resume as normal after the possession,” said Grant.
The combination of planning and equipment is enabling a staged approach to tracklaying, where track and tunnel fit out are completed in sections from between 800 metres and three kilometres in length.
An automated approach will be used from Chatswood to Victoria Cross, underneath North Sydney, and from Marrickville to Martin Place. For these sections, the custom-made Manco equipment will be used.
For the section underneath Sydney Harbour and from Barangaroo to Martin Place, a manual method using small wheeled loaders placing sleepers and rail threading will construct the track.
Recycled materials will also be used throughout the project, with crushed glass used for bedding, haunch, side, and overlay material instead of sand at the Sydney Metro Trains Facility at Rouse Hill. Recycled plastic cable troughing is used in place of galvanised steel.